Archive - Sports Article
December 6th, 2011
For many high school boysâ€™ basketball teams, Thursday marks the beginning of a new season â€“ a clean slate for all involved parties with role players looking to blossom into stars, and stars seeking to take their team to the next level.
In the case of defending state champion St. Raphael Academy, maintaining the status quo will do just fine. The dawn of a fresh campaign also signifies the arrival of two Pawtucket-based high school tournaments geared towards preserving the memories of a pair of legendary city coaches.
NORTHFIELD, Vt. â€“ Lincoln High alum Anthony Joyce has earned a starting job at heavyweight for the Norwich University wrestling program.
Joyce finished fourth last weekend in the Rochester Institute of Technology tournament to continue a strong start to his sophomore season.
â€śI have a 14-10 record so far,â€ť Joyce admitted over the phone on Monday night. â€śIâ€™m a more well-rounded wrestler now than I was in high school. I hurt my hand in football in my freshman year of college and this year I decided to just focus on wrestling.â€ť
PROVIDENCE â€” Every coach has his or her own way to get the team ready. For Ed Cooley, that means leaving no stone unturned.
Following Providenceâ€™s 80-49 runaway performance against an overmatched Brown team on Monday night, Cooley took the media inside the preparation his team goes through leading up to tip-off time. Focusing on the opponentâ€™s tendencies is one area thatâ€™s obviously stressed â€“ PC was going up against a Brown squad that prefers to play at a much slower tempo â€“ yet thereâ€™s a little thing called self-scouting that Cooley believes is just as vital to the cause.
Two years ago, a very-loaded Woonsocket High squad captured the Division I title just a year after doing the same in Div. II.
Consistently, though, it's been teams like La Salle Academy and Bay View that have ruled the state's top division for the simple reason that talented athletes often gravitate to the powerhouse parochial schools. Since the 2001-02 season, the defending champion Rams have won seven state crowns. The Bengals have only claimed one title but have been in three other finals during that 10-year span.
CRANSTON â€” Just like it has done throughout the season, fourth-seeded Central Falls showed plenty of heart in its Division IV Super Bowl contest with defending champion Mount Pleasant Sunday afternoon.
But spurred by a couple of big plays that they were able to turn into a pair of touchdowns, it was the second-seeded Kilties who were able to walk out off the field with their second straight title, courtesy of a 22-13 win in front of about 400 at Cranston Stadium.
Editor's Note: This roundup of Friday night hockey games will only be found on The Times' website.
WEST WARWICK -- Senior captain Ryan Barry scored twice and set up two other goals on Friday night to lead East Providence to a 4-3 victory over West Warwick in the Division III opener for both teams at the West Warwick Civic Center.
Matt Hall and Paul Lukas added the Towniesâ€™ other goals, and freshman Ryan Costa had a pair of assists, and goalie Shawn Medeiros turned away 20 shots.
CENTRAL FALLS â€” They had a plethora of gifted athletes. The offensive and defensive line resembled (and provided) a brick wall with an average weight of 240 pounds.
The 2005 Division IV state champion Central Falls football team was something special, compiling a 7-2 league mark and defeating Narragansett, 30-13, for its one and only team title.
The high-scoring first line from a season ago has graduated. So has the starting goaltender.
And two standout defensemen who could have returned this year opted to transfer to prep school.
So does this mean bad news is in store for Mount St. Charles? Will this be a rebuilding season? Can you dismiss all talk of a â€śdrive for fiveâ€ť straight state championships?
No, no, and no.
â€śThis is one of the youngest teams that weâ€™ve had in a while,â€ť offered MSC coach Dave Belisle. â€śbut the thing that I like about this team is our sophomores and freshmen can play right now. Theyâ€™re that good.
For years, former St. Raphael Academy all-stater Chris Iannetta has heard his name dropped as an oft-rumored trade chip. On Wednesday night, the real thing went down.
The Colorado Rockies, the only organization Iannetta has ever known, traded the 28-year-old catcher to the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for pitcher starting pitcher Tyler Chatwood.
â€śWeâ€™re very happy for him. This will be a great opportunity,â€ť said Alan Nero, Iannettaâ€™s agent. â€śUsually when you get traded, someone wants you pretty bad.
GOING SOUTH -- The Central Falls Panthersâ€™ 15-and-under cheerleading squad is heading to Orlando, Fla. for the national championship competition that will be held from Dec. 7-15. The squad just completed a championship season that saw them win the 2011 Blackstone Valley Cheer Championship for its age group, followed by the 2011 American Youth Football New England Regional championship. Team members include, front row, left to right: Amber Shaw and Yesenia Morales. Kneeling, left to right: Isabel Hernandez, Alyssa Agosto, Janderie Santiago, Cassandra Greco, Tyreaha Tavares.
A little of this, a little of that â€¦
In 2007, Keith Glass identified all the obstacles and problem areas that the NBA faced in a book entitled â€śTaking Shots: Tall Tales, Bizarre Battles, and the Incredible Truth About the NBA.â€ť
Shortly after his team absorbed a heartbreaking 25-17 loss to Central Falls in the Division IV semifinals, a contest that included a potential game-tying scoring drive in the final minute, North Smithfield coach Wes Pennington offered his explanation about what transpired in the Tuesday night affair at the Northmen's Athletic Complex.
â€śIt's just like one of those things where we explained to the guys the emotion of this game, a playoff game,â€ť he said. â€śIf you don't come out and play with the type of emotions that you need to play with, if you fall behind, it's harder to come back.â€ť
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€“ All season long the Central Falls football team has played for Jose Figueroa, a 2011 graduate and dedicated four-year player who lost his life in a drowning accident this past summer.
From high above, he had to enjoy this one.
With their eyes clearly on the prize in Tuesdayâ€™s Division IV semifinal contest with host North Smithfield, the fourth-seeded Warriors jumped out to a 21-point cushion by the third quarter and then held off a spirited rally by the top-seeded Northmen in the second half to hold on to an emotional 25-17 victory.
WOOD RIVER JUNCTION --- Cumberland knew exactly what it was going to get out of Chariho on Tuesday night -- a strong ground game to contain and a tough defense to penetrate offensively.
The Chargers controlled the clock by racking up 260 yards on 58 carries and limited the Clippers to just 151 yards of real estate en route to a 14-0 triumph in their Division II semifinal-round matchup.
PROVIDENCE â€“ Ed Cooley knew exactly when his team lost control. But Providence Collegeâ€™s first-year head coach didnâ€™t seem all hot and bothered after his team held on for dear life in an 82-77 victory Tuesday night against Holy Cross.
NORTH SMITHFIELD â€” There shouldnâ€™t be any tricks left, no alarms and no surprises when Central Falls ventures to North Smithfield for a game that will decide one-half of the Super Bowl field.
The two Division IV schools, less than 13 miles apart, met up a mere 2 Â˝ weeks ago with the host Northmen grounding the high-octane Warriors by a 27-6 score. Tuesdayâ€™s 7 p.m. kickoff will see the sides converge on a much bigger stage, meeting in the semifinals at the Northmen Athletic Complex.
CUMBERLAND â€” If the old adage â€śdefense wins championshipsâ€ť is indeed true, then Cumberland and Chariho should be in prime shape to win their next two playoff games and take home the coveted Division II championship next Sunday.
Both teams finished 1-2 in the 16-team league with the fewest points allowed in division play (the Chargers yielded 73, the Clippers 77), and thanks to their exceptional defenses, either squad hasnâ€™t lost a game since September.
CUMBERLAND â€” The Cumberland High wrestling team opens practice today without returning state runner-up Erik Travers, who has become a key member of the football team this season.
The Cumberland gridders are scheduled to visit Chariho on Tuesday night in a Division II semifinal contest. Travers, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound junior, will start at cornerback on defense and halfback on offense.
Some things I think I think:
Is it possible the spread offense and its numerous variations have run their course at the high school football level?
Sure seemed that way during Wednesday nightâ€™s Tolman-Shea game when neither team looked efficient on offense in a 7-0 Tigers victory. Both teams appeared to be mirror images of one another on offense as they operated out of the shotgun on almost every play, blending in elements of the spread and wildcat formations, sending backs into motion on almost every play.
PAWTUCKET â€” The 1991 Shea High football teamâ€™s story reads like something out of Hoosiers, the movie about a long-shot basketball team that won the Indiana state championship back in the 1950s.
â€śWe had 17 players on the team and they showed up for practice every day,â€ť said Steve Alves Jr., the West Warwick native who began his coaching career at Shea High in 1989. â€śItâ€™s a good thing our coaching staff was a bunch of young guys because we had to get in there and practice with the kids so that we would have enough bodies to hold a full scrimmage.â€ť